Tips and Advice

Digital printing: your questions answered

If you have a burning question about how to get your artwork right for digital print, then today is your lucky day. Our Operations Director and digital print genius, Ian Gordon, answers your questions, from finding the perfect resolution to printing with white ink.

Digital printing: resident digital print genius Ian Gordon

 

What quantity ranges are most appropriate for digital printing? – Luke

The benefit of digital printing is that it’s literally from a single page upwards…however it is probably the most debated subjects in the industry in terms of print runs of over 500 pages and is driven primarily by price and turnaround.

The great thing about our site is that you can actually test what’s best for you. We dynamically generate the price per page and the time to produce from the job spec as you select your options, so you will soon get a sense of what is appropriate for you.

Alternatively don’t hesitate to contact the team if you want advice on a specific project.

At what resolution should I save my photos and graphics? – Sarah

That’s a good question, and with the advent of ever more complex digital cameras and ease of use of devices such as smartphones, image quality can vary greatly. As rule of thumb we would recommend 300dpi, but the key to good reproduction is what is termed as the “canvas”, or physical size of the image. You can check this in applications such as Adobe Photoshop. As an example, if you have an image that has a canvas size of 200mm square at 300dpi and you scale it up on a page to 400mm square, the effective output resolution would reduce to 150dpi.

In terms of creating suitable print output, you also need to remember that some printing systems have difficulty in processing files where the image size (and therefore the resolution) is larger than necessary for the output size. This also has the effect of the files you want to upload being too large. It’s really about getting the balance right between resolution and physical size; see the link below for more detailed advice: http://www.photoshopessentials.com/essentials/image-quality/

In relation to creating graphic files, generally it’s best to use a vector-based programme such as Adobe Illustrator, particularly for items you want to scale or re-use for different output types.

Why do the printed colours sometimes look different from the colours on my screen? – Peter

You will be glad to know that you’re not alone on this question, and thanks for giving me the opportunity to get a basic answer out there…

Your screen display is RGB (red green blue) and there are many other different screen types out there: LCD, LED, Plasma etc. Our printing systems are laying down ink in CMYK (cyan yellow magenta black) so there will always be a difference. The chosen paper can also have an effect, as they are naturally different shades.

There are ways to mitigate this difference, such as colour profiling/calibrating your monitor to a set print output standard. We would need to know a bit more about your set-up and applications do give you specific advice, but I have spoken to our Pre-press Specialist, David Hornsby, and he will be happy to assist you with your next order.

What weight paper would you recommend for business cards? – Abs

That’s an easy one — 350gsm matt laminated would be my choice every time!

 

One place where digital printing seems to fall down is in hairline fonts and very thin lines. Is there a way to set up your artwork to make these elements print better? – Stuart

Digital presses can have issues with very thin lines, particularly if the line has low saturation of colour. This is due to the speed at which it has to register each colour. To reduce this problem, it is best to avoid light tints — and if possible — add more black into the CMYK breakdown. If it won’t compromise your designs, use a slightly thicker line weight and avoid “thin” fonts in small text. I’m sure our Pre-press Team will be able to advise on a specific job for you and give a bit more guidance.

Is it possible to print white on Kraft stock? – Katy

Unfortunately we don’t currently use white ink as a special colour but it’s definitely one of the areas we will be reviewing.

About the author

Emma-Lee’s the resident wordsmith and Content Editor, well versed in all things grammar. If she’s not clattering away at her keyboard, you’ll find her hitting the asphalt – or putting her extensive Eurovision knowledge to the test at the local pub quiz.

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11 comments on “Digital printing: your questions answered

  1. Kenny Marshall on

    Does anyone have any tips for achieving the white on kraft outcome? Currently using a false kraft effect as background printing onto white but this is far from ideal!

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